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Shaquille O’Neal kidnapping case: Victim urged NBA star’s ex-wife to ‘pay up’

July 6, 2011 |  1:07 pm

Shaq The alleged victim of a 2008 kidnapping incident linked to Shaquille O’Neal contacted the basketball star’s ex-wife in recent weeks telling her to “break bread and pay up,” according to court testimony Wednesday.

Robert Ross, who told authorities that members of the Main Street Crip gang kidnapped, robbed and beat him while mentioning O’Neal shortly after he had a dispute with the star, took the stand Wednesday in a preliminary hearing for the case.

Defense attorney James Bisnow, in attacking Ross’ credibility, asked him about a Facebook message Ross sent to the boyfriend of Shaunie O’Neal on June 27, two weeks after he first testified and during a hiatus in the case.

“Didn’t you say that she needed to break bread and pay up?” Bisnow asked during cross-examination.

“Something like that,” Ross said.

Bisnow remarked to the judge that the Facebook message showed a “continuing pattern of a person who lies and will do anything for money.”

The testimony marks a bizarre twist in a case that largely relies on a less-than-solid star witness, Ross, who has a lengthy criminal record and admitted to demanding money from O’Neal, saying he had a sex tape of the former Lakers center.

Ross has previously testified that he lied about having the sex tape to pressure O’Neal and his business partner to pay money he felt he was owed from a business deal.

Authorities also have wiretapped conversations of gang members discussing the incident, as well as phone records showing a “flurry” of calls between the members around the time of the kidnapping.

Investigators early on in the case looked into the possibility that O’Neal had been connected to the kidnapping, robbery and assault of Ross in February 2008.

But O’Neal has denied involvement in the incident in statements to law enforcement and has not been charged.

Ross was expected to resume his testimony Wednesday afternoon.


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Photo: Shaquille O'Neal with the Boston Celtics in October. Credit: Winslow Townson / Associated Press